8 Aug 2022


Paranoid Personality Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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Paranoid personality disorder patients suffer from a condition of mistrust, and therefore trust should be central in the diagnosis and treatment procedures undertaken by the psychiatrist. This paper seeks to clarify what paranoid personality disorder is, its causes, symptoms, the various diagnosis approaches, treatment and management skills in handling of this disabling mental condition. 

What is Paranoid personality disorder? 

Paranoid personality disorder abbreviated as PPD refers to a disorder of the mind characterized by high suspicion and lack of trust in others. People with paranoid personality disorder believe that other people’s motives are always suspicious. They believe that people are out there to cause harm, get most out of them and use them yet they do not have enough evidence to support their claims. Though it is normal to experience some sense of paranoia in life, it goes to extreme levels for people diagnosed with this disorder to the level of destroying the relationship they have with other people. 

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They experience problems with their relationships due to their extreme levels of suspicion. Most of their arguments are pessimistic. They frequently complain of various issues they face in life. They act in defensive, cautious or deceitful manner. On the contrary, they appear to be lucid, objective oriented and impassive. Due to their elusive behavior, PPD individuals cause an elicited behavior in others to surface as a way of confirmation of their intuitions. 

On the positive side of these individuals, they always want to be independent and to be in control of their lives and those of others around them. These people exhibit rigidness, always criticize and do not easily join forces with others. 

The disorder negates an individual’s way of life and is natured after repetitive actions against a person’s will. It affects the following aspects of an individual’s life; impulse control, perception, how someone relates to himself or herself. The effects are reflexive in both personal and social life. 

Symptoms of Paranoid personality Disorder 

Often, people diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder live in denial of change in their behavior. They see it normal to always doubt the trust of those they associate with though they feel such kind of distrust being dishonest and offensive. Change in a persons’ mood may cause a person with PPD to exhibit paranoia such as anxiety. 

It is characterized by persistent distrust and acting suspiciously towards other people’s motives identifying them as malicious. The symptoms start to surface as a person enters adulthood. These individuals portray the following behavioral change; 

Holds and keep grudges for considerably long time. When such a person is hurt/wronged, he/she finds it very hard to forgive and let go. 

They find it difficult to share their problems with others. Most a times they think that by doing so, their colleagues will intimidate and laugh at them. 

Frequently act suspicious on their life partners even though they do not have sufficient evidence to support their claims. 

Always feels demeaned or looked down upon from comments of other people. They find it offensive. 

Most a times, such individuals always think that others are cheating, deceiving or taking advantage of them although they do not have sufficient evidence to support their claims. 

Constantly doubts the loyalty of his or her colleagues. 

They think they are always right and do not relate themselves with any problem caused. 

They find it hard to be at peace with themselves. 

They act in a hostile manner and always take odd stands in discussions. 

Paranoid personality disorder shares a number of symptoms with other mental disorders such as schizophrenia and BPD (borderline personal disorder). 

Causes of paranoid personality disorder. 

Up to date, the cause of PPD is yet to be known. According to researchers, paranoid personality disorder caused by a number of biological and environmental factors put together. Paranoid personality disorder is common in families whose members have previously been affected by other mental disorders such as schizophrenia and delusional disorders. Early traumatically affected in the early stages of life may also be a contributing factor. 


The first step in diagnosis of this disorder is clarification of the diagnosis which ramifies the treatment procedures and behavioral issues such as resistance to treatment and possibility of being violent. Testing can be carried out by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist. A person is questioned about his or her past behavioral activities as well as symptoms. 

Questions bordering a person’s life that is from childhood, school, work, and relationships provide insights into a person’s condition. Response to imaginative circumstances gives hints on how someone acts on different conditions and therefore used also to diagnose PPD. After conduction, the diagnosis, the professionals, come up with the treatment plan. 


Paranoid personality disordercan be successfully treated. However, the process faces resistance from individuals who are affected. The processes involved is psychotherapy which helps the individual to; 

Learn effective communication skills even in a social setup. 

Reduce feeling of suspicion. 

Get along with the disorder. 

Increase self-confidence. 

In carrying out psychotherapy, it is always important for the clinician to pay attention to feelings of downheartedness and therefore it should be the aim of this therapy to boost their feeling of self-worth. Joint examination involving the patient and the clinician is important in diagnosing the patient’s suspicious acts towards other people’s motives and concurring with such motives if any is crucial. However, the process is slow and may take up to one year. 

A person with additional effects such as downheartedness is prescribed to medication of drugs such as antipsychotics and antidepressants. The combination of psychotherapy and medication proves to be successful in the treatment of PPD. 

Since a person with paranoid personality disorder is extremely sensitive, health professionals should avoid the instance of raising suspicion but rather make the patient feel to be in control of the treatment process. Information both in the file and spoken should also be clearly justified. 

Group therapy is effective when it comes to persons with PPD. Their oversensitivity requires the clinician not to use encouragement words to stand in for vindictive intentions. Close contact should be avoided, but a normal boundary should be adopted when dealing with patients. 

Future of PPD 

Those who accepts treatment are capable again of holding healthy relationships on condition that the treatment process is continuous since there is no cure for this disorder. 

Individuals who are resistive to the treatment process live unhealthy and abnormal lives to which they do not concede. They at most times fail to maintain their positions at their places of work, and their social lives are impacted negatively. 


Although the feelings of suspicion towards other people’s intentions is a normal reaction, such levels can be escalated and are maladaptive. A thorough understanding of psychological processes involved and sticking to some management codes is essential for psychiatrists in diagnosing and treatment of this disorder. 


Grant, B. F., Hasin, D. S., Stinson, F. S., Dawson, D. A., Chou, S. P., Ruan, W., & Pickering, R. P. (2004). Prevalence correlates, and disability of personality disorders in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The Journal of clinical psychiatry

Harper, R. G. (2010). Paranoid personality disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Webb, C. T., & Levinson, D. F. (1993). Schizotypal and paranoid personality disorder in the relatives of patients with schizophrenia and affective disorders: a review. Schizophrenia Research , 11 (1), 81-92. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Paranoid Personality Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.


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